By Ryan Stigile, contributing writer
Every local church is beautifully unique. Unlike any other in the world, each is driven by different passions, values, principles and each church reaches an entirely different group of people. Yet too often, instead of building ideas for change that are tailored to their own identity, churches transplant methods that were originally built for something different. The logic is simple, “If it worked for them, it will work for us!” But like a younger brother wearing hand-me-downs all his life, these churches continually try on new ideas that do not fit their size, style, or place in time.
If you want to make change that lasts, you have to make change that fits.
Change that fits is built from the inside, not copied from the outside. While this process is longer on the front-end, it leads to solutions that will carry your organization much further into the future. Consider these steps:
1. Identify YOUR problems
Why do you need to change? General opinions about the problems of the modern church are very broad, they are a dime a dozen. Additionally, everyone who has spent five minutes around your specific church probably has an opinion about what is wrong with it. Instead of listening to outside and underdeveloped opinions, spend some time understanding the true problems of your organization. Often, what initially comes to mind is only a symptom of something deeper. Ask God to reveal the true necessary areas of improvement.
2. Identify YOUR strengths
What are you good at? When analyzing problems, it is easy to develop a highly negative outlook. Regardless of the current problems you are facing, your church is still making a significant impact. Taking time to identify your strengths allows you the chance to reframe your outlook. This balanced perspective of problems and strengths provides the hope necessary to sustain the change process.
3. Identify YOUR needs
List your problems and strengths in columns next to one another in front of your leadership team. How can you begin using your strengths to solve your problems? Get creative in the ways that you use them. After exhausting your strengths, determine what else is truly needed to move forward. You might require a new skill set, specific data, or an objective opinion. Whatever your need, identify and acquire it.
4. Identify YOUR solution
Equipped with a clear understanding of your problems, strengths, and satisfied needs, you can create the change that fits. Instead of trying on ideas made for someone else, your church will be able to move forward with an organic solution most appropriate to its identity. And just like your favorite shirt, you’ll still be wearing it many years down the road…
…Why? Because it fits you.
Ryan Stigile serves as the Strategic Analyst for Mount Paran Church in Atlanta, GA. Ryan is passionate about the inclusion of organizational principles in the local church. He is currently an MBA student at Kennesaw State University.
Email Jason if you’d like to become a contributing writer.